ARSENAL are trying to get one over arch-rivals Tottenham… by plotting to host Anthony Joshua’s next fight.
The Watford-born star, 30, is expected to take on Kubrat Pulev in the UK later this year.
It will be the first defence of his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts since beating Andy Ruiz Jr in their December rematch.
And before taking on either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder – who face off on February 22 – AJ looks set to battle Pulev, who pulled out of their world-title bout in 2017 with an injury.
Tottenham’s brand-new £1billion stadium was the most likely option for the potential bout, with a date in June on the cards, and remains AJ’s preference.
But now Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed Arsenal are hoping to stage the bout.
And Gunners staff were reportedly informed they would need to work this summer at a major event.
Hearn said: “Terms are, I’d not say agreed, but we’re in a good position.
“We have an agreement in principle for a June fight.
“Spurs is our preference and now Arsenalhave come in.
“When you go to other countries, like in the Middle East, you have Saudi Arabia, they hear Abu Dhabi or Qatar are looking at a fight. Well now it’s like Spurs and Arsenal.”
Despite opening its doors in 2006, the Emirates Stadium is yet to host a boxing match but Hearn encouraged Arsenal to stamp their authority and make their ground a “sports entertainment destination”.
Tottenham already have a deal in place to host NFL matches at White Hart Lane, with the groundstaff able to divide and retract their grass football pitch to reveal the American football field beneath.
Hearn added: “It’s not been done before at Arsenal, but I don’t see why not.
“If you want to establish yourself as a sports entertainment destination, it’s a pretty big coup to get this fight.
“It’s the north London race for this fight. Tottenham is our preference, but we’re talking to Arsenal and they’ve come in and said, ‘How do we make this happen?’.
“I get the feeling that Arsenal and the Emirates would quite like to nick this. It would be like a little one-upmanship for them.
“Emirates was such a revolutionary stadium, but almost feels old now. It’s quite interesting.”
But speaking to Sky Sports News last week, the Matchroom chief admitted Spurs were in pole position to land the deal.
He said: “We’ve had offers in from the Far East, Middle East, Africa, America, Turkey.
“He’s made it very clear to me, ‘I want to come home. I want to box in London next. I’ve been to Madison Square Garden, I’ve been to Saudi Arabia, bring me home. Forget the other offers, bring me home.’
“He wants to fight in London in June. We’re on the verge of making that happen now. Spurs is the front runner and that’s what he’s asked me to do. We’ll be delivering that for him.”
Anthony Joshua drags huge stack of weights as he trains for upcoming Kubrat Pulev fight